Friday, January 06, 2017

6th January,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Pakistan needs to develop competitive basmati for global market share

By Webmaster 
January 5, 2017
Observer Report
Rice contributes 9 per cent to the national export proceed and 3.1pc to the agriculture GDP of Pakistan. During the last decade, the composition of rice exports has changed drastically. Basmati’s share in rice exports has declined from 58pc in 2007-08 to 24pc in 2015-16. In value terms, the basmati exports have declined from $1.1bn to $447m whereas that of non-basmati varieties has nearly doubled from $767m to $1.4bn.Though this transformation appears inconsequential as the net export proceeds remain similar, it’s indeed regressive as Pakistan is being knocked out of the premium quality rice segment and improving competitiveness in the coarse rice market characterised by a price race to the bottom.
The main reason for the unending slide in Pakistan’s basmati exports is the gradual erosion of competitiveness and the failure to adapt the product with the evolving international market dynamics in a zero-sum competition with the only other basmati producing country India. During the last 20 years, India has seized the basmati market from Pakistan owing to its lead in the development of basmati varieties and improvement in processing technologies especially parboiling.
Since 1995, India has developed more than 20 high-yielding, disease-resistant and extra-long varieties of basmati, its hybrids and look-alikes, whereas in Pakistan no successful indigenous high-yielding basmati variety has been fielded since the approval of Super Basmati in 1990s.Conversely, the Basmati-385 variety has commercially petered out due to unviable low yields and shorter grain length; Super Basmati has degenerated in natural varietal life-cycle.The two recent Indian-developed varieties 1121 and 1509 have nearly taken over the increasingly parboiled-preferring global basmati market. Both the varieties have average grain length (AGL) of 8.1-8.4mm and a per acre paddy yield of 2.0-2.4 tonnes compared with 7.0 to 7.4mm AGL and 1.2 to 1.7 tonnes yield of Super Basmati. The superior aroma of Super Basmati becomes irrelevant for the parboiled/sela rice as the aromatic compounds evaporate in the parboiling process.
While Pakistan has been trying to preserve its natural heritage of basmati at international forums and through promulgation of legislation on geographical indications, the commercial extinction of indigenous basmati varieties would render such protection meaningless.On the processing side, India has secured a technological advantage by developing mechanised parboiling technology which ensures color consistency and absence of odour which sets in through manual parboiling techniques. The development of 1121 and 1509 varieties ideally complemented the parboiling technology.
The market side developments have also accentuated Pakistan’s struggle in the world market. The global basmati market size has phenomenally grown from 2m metric tonnes (MMT) in 2005 to 4.7MMT in 2016, whereas Pakistan’s share has declined from 42pc to 11pc during the same period in all the major basmati importing countries.
Around 46pc of the global basmati consumption, outside the sub-continent, is in Saudi Arabia and Iran only. In Saudi market of $1.4b, Pakistan has gradually lost its share to India from 59pc in 1986 to a meagre 6pc in 2015 whereas in Iranian market of $1.2bn Pakistan’s share is a dismal 0.4pc now.
Though the loss of share in Iranian market can be partly attributed to economic sanctions, the near elimination of Pakistan from the Saudi market is owing to loss of competitiveness, failure to adapt the product offerings and poor marketing.The EU’s duty-free regime of brown basmati imports makes the EU a unique market for basmati but Pakistani basmati has been generally faring well here. Poor marketing techniques and poorer business ethos have also contributed to the erosion of Pakistan’s market share. In 1999, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan with the support of the Export Promotion Bureau had set an unprecedented model of voluntarily creating a Quality Review Committee (QRC) for mandatory inspection of basmati rice to ensure quality standards and checking the mislabelling of blended rice as basmati.
The blended rice exporters, after around 15 years of consistent effort to undo the QRC, were finally able to get it disbanded in 2015, further eroding the quality perception of Pakistani basmati in the import markets.
To conclude, Pakistan is steadily regressing in a progressing global basmati market due to loss of competitiveness ensuing from productivity crisis, innovation deficit in varietal development and processing technologies, lack of product adaptation, and poor marketing techniques and ethos.
The strategy to regain the market share in premium rice segment entails: immediate focus on agronomic research of high-yield, short-period, long-grain, drought-and-disease-resistant basmati varieties; proliferation of processing technologies; re-introduction of mandatory pre-shipment inspection mechanism for improving quality perception of Pakistani basmati; promotion of branding and development of short-term penetration strategy for the post-sanctions Iranian market.

East Africa: How 3,600 Bags of Rice Destined for Kenya Ended Up On Local Market

By Mark Keith Muhumuza
Kampala — On January 3, 2017, Mr Chris Ssengoba Salongo did not anticipate that he would spend the third day in the New Year behind bars.On that day at about 11 pm, Mr Ssengoba was arrested by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) enforcement officers and taken to the Jinja Road Police Station to record a statement.Mr Ssengooba's crime, according to URA was evasion of export duties. He had sold rice meant to be re-exported to Kenya in Uganda without paying duties.These are charges he denies.
On October 7, 2015, Gloree International Limited imported goods among them rice into the Ugandan market.
The rice had been imported from Pakistan. Gloree had not paid taxes on the goods so they remained warehoused until taxes were cleared.For imported goods to be sold on the Ugandan market, they have to be cleared by URA after payment of import duty.
On three occasions, Mr Ssengoba is alleged to have bought consignments of goods - including rice - from Gloree International.According to an investigation report by URA, Mr Ssengoba bought 520 bags of rice on July 13, 2016.At the time, the goods were declared by Ssengoba as being destined for the Kenyan market as re-exports.On June 2, 2016, Ssengoba is alleged to have bought another 1040 bags from Gloree International under consignment number UGKLA E 13084.On the same day, he acquired another 1040 bags of rice from the same company."The same goods were sold to Mr Chris Ssengooba Salongo while still warehoused and were declared for re-export to Kenya on Entry No. UGKLA E 13087 of 2nd June 2016," the URA enforcement investigation report reads, in part.
On that same day, the rice was loaded on a truck number KAU 605P/ZD 7284 destined for the Kenyan border town of Busia before being allowed into the Kenyan territory.
Rice never left Uganda
"There were no records at Busia in the export books to prove that the goods were received at the station on the side of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).The KRA had no corresponding Inward Rotation numbers, the supervisor KRA at Busia categorically stated that Kenya has never received rice imports from Uganda between June 2016 and December 2016,” the report reads.
In other words, the rice never left Uganda at all.For a period of three months, URA started investigations into this transaction.With the help of informants and associates of Ssengooba – they were able to track at least 3,640 bags of rice valued at about Shs300m meant to re-exported into Kenya were now in the Ugandan market.On June 2, 2016, instead of the truck delivering rice to Kenya, the rice ended up at Ssengooba’s stores along Martin Road, Old Kampala. He has able to put the rice on sale in Uganda without payment of duties, which URA officials say causes price distortions and loss of revenue to the tax body.
“In this market, people are allowed import rice and re-export it. When goods are warehoused, it is not until tax payments are made that they can be allowed on the market.“However, in this case, the rice was declared as re-export to Kenya – subject to Kenyan import taxes – so there was no payment of URA taxes,” Ms Agnes Nabwire Waiswa, the assistant commissioner enforcement at URA told reporters on Wednesday.She noted that diversion of goods causes price distortions because the culprits are able to sell their goods at much lower prices, compared to those who have paid their dues to the taxman.For two months, URA officials had trailed Mr Ssengooba until January 3, 2017 when the arrest was made.
Claims refuted
However, Mr Ssengooba refutes these claims.
“I have never bought those tonnes of rice being mentioned. URA has been misinformed about this transaction. I did not break the law because I have always paid my taxes. Yes I did buy rice, but it was never from Pakistan and I cleared all the taxes with URA,” he claims.In his denial, he blames rogue clearing agents who are using traders Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) to purchase goods and divert them from their intended destination. Mr Ssengooba is expected to be arraigned in court today.
The offender
More info. The investigations by URA reveal that Ssengooba was found with extra bags of rice that were never bought from Gloree Investments.
They also reveal that he was a repeat offender and had been engaged in this business for a while. URA is not sure how many bags of rice Ssengooba has traded illegally since he started engaging in the business. The only consignments that URA could trace were three.Other informants and arrested associates who URA talked to told them that this was not the first time Ssengooba was engaged in this practice. However, according to him, the first time he bought rice, it was only 48 bags and he has since abandoned rice trade
Photo: Stephen Wandera/Daily Monitor
Bags of rice (file photo).

Rice exports hit by price variations

THE HANS INDIA |    Jan 05,2017 , 03:56 PM IST
The exports have fallen from 21 lakh MT to 14 lakh MT of rice due to competition from neighbouring States
Kakinada: The rice exports from AP to various destinations across the globe particularly to African countries said to have been affected in the current financial year 2016-17.  Apart from international market  price, competition from rice producers from neighboring States like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh touted to be another reason for the downfall in exports.  
According to reliable information till the year 2012-13, the rice exports from the country particularly from Kakinada Port to destinations like African countries, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh went off smoothly. However, in the last four years countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan Korea targeted international market with rice exports. Thus new phenomena said to have affected the market of Indian rice to some extent. On price line as per the details variable during the year 2013- 14 rice exports from Kakinada port was to the tune of 21.75 lakh MT.  In the next couple of years, the exports noticed slip from 20.53 lakh MT in 2014-15 to 19.60 lakh MT during 2015-16. With just three months left in the current financial year of 2016-17, the exports still December 1 touched mere 14 lakh MT.
Elaborating the shortfall, East Godavari Rice Industry Association president, Ambati Ramakrishna Reddy said that apart from international market the price tag of neighboring States has dented exports from AP.
“We are supplying Swarna variety rice at Rs  2,050 per quintal, whereas the traders from Chhattisgarh and MP are supplying the same for Rs 1,800  per quintal and the exporters are showing inclination as  towards other States due to Rs  250 variation per quintal,” he added.
However, we are hoping that exports for the 1010 variety of rice which will be produced during second crop  which will be available up to September 2017 from March, April as the particular variety is in demand in overseas market. Summing it up, Dantu Surya Rao   president of Cocanada Chamber of Commerce, the apex  body which caters to the needs of export and imports from Kakinada, said  that a sharp fall in rice exports has been noticed in the last  six months. “We are hopeful of some improvement in exports in the next three months’ in this financial year 2016-17,” he concludes
And They're Off!  115th Congress Begins with Ceremonial Traditions 

WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday marked the start of the 115th United States Congress as Members of the House and Senate were sworn-in on the floor of their respective chambers by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Vice President Joe Biden. 

Shortly before the swearing-in ceremony, House Members formally voted to re-elect Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Minority Leader. 

The 115th Congress includes 51 new Members of the House and seven new Senators.  Additionally, several new Members will be chosen through special elections and appointments following the confirmation of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet and mid-level agency heads in the coming weeks that could leave several vacancies in Congress.  For example, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been nominated as the U.S. Attorney General, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as CIA Director. 

Yesterday the Senate also announced that Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) have been added to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  The House plans to announce their updated Committee rosters in the next week.USA Rice attended a number of receptions for Members of Congress representing rice-growing states to show support and begin visiting about priorities for 2017. "We're looking forward to calling on new Members and catching up with our friends who held their seats," said USA Rice Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely.  "This is a great time to look at advancing some issue areas that may have fresh momentum given the new political landscape." 

"As the Trump transition process unfolds, USA Rice is remaining engaged in providing input and ensuring that the U.S. rice industry's priorities are at the forefront," added Mosely.Congress will need as much time as possible in Washington to accomplish their hefty agenda for the year; the House calendar has added more than three additional weeks in session compared to 2016.  

Arkansas: Specialty Rice Program Approaches Release Of Two Aromatic Lines

Posted by: Terry Simmons
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s specialty rice program, seated in the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, is planning to release two varieties of aromatic rice in the coming years, researchers said this month.Debra Ahrent Wisdom, a program and research associate for the Division of Agriculture in Stuttgart, said two jasmine-type aromatic rices, currently known simply as AR-1105 and AR-1102, are scheduled to be released in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

“These are really the first lines we’ve released through the specialty rice program,” Ahrent Wisdom said. “We determined there was a demand for these aromatics through conversations with growers, millers and marketers, and also by simply looking at rice imports across the country.”Ahrent Wisdom said that while the United States (and Arkansas in particular) doesn’t typically import much long- or medium-grain rice, imports of aromatics such as jasmine and basmati are strong.

“There’s an interest among consumers for aromatic rice,” she said, noting that immigrants and foreign nationals, particularly from Asian counties such as India and Thailand,  overwhelmingly prefer the rice grown in their countries of origin.
“We can’t grow the varieties they grow in Thailand and India, because of the photo period sensitivities,” Ahrent Wisdom said. “We can’t just say, ‘send us some seed and we’ll grow it here.’ It doesn’t work that way. There’s something about the environment in Thailand and India that makes those aromatic lines just pop. And it’s not everywhere in those countries – it’s just certain pockets where the soil and the environment just works.

“We don’t happen to have that particular environment here – so we work around the environment we have,” she said.Ahrent Wisdom said both of the new varieties claim Jazzman, a jasmine aromatic line originally developed by Louisiana State University, as a parent. In three years of test trials, AR-1105 and AR-1102 have averaged yields of 170 and 150 bushels per acre, respectively. While the yields aren’t comparable to most long-grain rice varieties, the numbers represent a strong showing among aromatics, she said.

Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said specialty rices like Ahrent Wisdom’s aromatic lines make up less than 1 percent of overall rice production in Arkansas, the leading rice state in the country. Nevertheless, producers are always looking for an edge in marketing opportunities, he said.“Our growers do want some investment,” Hardke said. “Any kind of value-added product, anything we can find a fit for, at a premium, and can grow and sell, that’s great. But to date, specialty rice markets are still pretty small.”Karen Moldenhauer, a professor of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science for the Division of Agriculture in Stuttgart, said the RREC has been working with aromatic varieties for more than a decade, although the specialty didn’t become a focus of the program’s research until Ahrent Wisdom transferred from Fayetteville to Stuttgart in 2009.

“There was a lot of interest in aromatic rice,” Moldenhauer said. “The Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board and a number of producers in Arkansas thought it would be good if we could have an aromatic that we could potentially sell to some of these same people; people that were more interested in different types of rices, so they could have something from the United States to choose from.”Moldenhauer said that since the Division of Agriculture’s rice breeding program was established in 1931, it has released about 45 lines of rice, only one of which has been an aromatic.

Glen Bathke, assistant director of the RREC, said that the specialty rice program’s pursuit of unusual lines provides an avenue for growers to find new markets in which to pursue revenues.“Just having a new rice variety released periodically lets growers and business owners know that we can grow specialty rice here, not just medium- and long-grain,” Bathke said. “We have aromatic markets right here in Arkansas. If growers would like to participate in that market, we have products that will allow them to do so, and diversify a little bit. But developing those markets is key.”

Pak-Palestine private sectors’ direct interaction can enhance trade: Envoy

Ambassador of Palestine to Pakistan Walid Abu Ali on Tuesday said that the direct interaction between the private sectors of Palenstine and Pakistan could help in exploring ways and means for enhancing bilateral trade.Talking to a delegation of Islamabad Chamber and Commerce and Industry (ICCI) led by its President Khalid Iqbal Malik, he said that many Palestinian products including marble and stones, food items, agro products, industrial goods, handicrafts, technology and communications, leather goods, construction, tourism related products could find good market in Pakistan.
The ambassador opined that the direct interaction between the private sectors of both the countries could help in exploring ways and means for enhancing bilateral trade.He said though it was difficult for Pakistani businessmen to do direct trade with Palestine due to Israeli factor, however, they could export to Palestine through Jordon, Egypt and Turkey which were facilitating it in trading activities.

He said that many Pakistani products including rice, textiles, pharmaceuticals and others have good potential in Palestinian market. The ambassador said that more opportunities should be created for the businessmen of Palestine and Pakistan to identify all untapped areas of mutual cooperation.He said enhanced business relations between the two countries would bring many benefits for their economies and people.He also thanked Pakistani government and people for supporting the cause of Palestine and added that Pakistan was a source of main support for Palestine.

The ICCI president said that Pakistan and Palestine had good potential to complement each other in many areas and both countries should focus on developing bilateral trade to create better economic opportunities for their people.He said both the countries had agreed to form a joint ministerial commission to improve bilateral trade and economic relations and stressed all possible efforts should be made for achieving solid results.He said Pakistan wanted peace in Palestine so that trade and economic activities could flourish and people of Palestine could enjoy a better living standard.

ICCI Senior Vice President Khalid Malik and Vice President Tahir Ayub also underscored the importance of strengthening trade and economic relations between the two countries. Khalid Iqbal Malik congratulated the ambassador and the Palestinian nation on completion of embassy building here.He hoped the completion of embassy would help further improving bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Palestine. Khalid Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Khalid Chaudhry, Muhammad Faheem Khan, Muhammad Naveed, Amin ur Rehman, Syed Nadeem Mansoor and Syed Bilal Adil were also present.

Basmati exporters' scrips rise on high shipment, price outlook

More exports are forecast this year, as Iran is expected to restart its import after two years

Dilip Kumar Jha  |  Mumbai January 5, 2017 Last Updated at 01:35 IST
A better outlook for export and price realisation has stocked bullish sentiment in the shares of basmati rice marketing companies over the past fortnight. These share prices have risen by nine to 14 per cent in this period. More exports are forecast this year, as Iran, the largest buyer of aromatic rice from India, is expected to restart its import after two years. Experts also say the price realisation per tonne, down after FY14, is likely to improve. "Iran was a major buyer until a few years ago. Now, they have hinted at restarting the import of basmati from India," ...

Iran booster shot likely to raise realisation to $800 per tonne from basmati exports this fiscal

After a sluggish beginning in the first half of the current fiscal, realisation from India’s basmati rice exports is likely to rise in the next couple of months, with Iran likely to resume rice imports shortly.

By: Sandip Das | New Delhi | Published: January 5, 2017 6:40 AM
Official sources told FE that the realisation from the exports of aromatic and long-grain rice rose to 0 a tonne last month from 0 a tonne prevailing in the last couple of months. (Source: IE)

After a sluggish beginning in the first half of the current fiscal, realisation from India’s basmati rice exports is likely to rise in the next couple of months, with Iran likely to resume rice imports shortly.Official sources told FE that the realisation from the exports of aromatic and long-grain rice rose to $800 a tonne last month from $750 a tonne prevailing in the last couple of months. A commerce ministry official said that exports realisation could reach $900 a tonne in the next couple of months because of lesser supplies because of lower production and firming up global demands.
Besides, Iran, the biggest exports destination for India’s basmati rice, is likely to resume imports of rice shortly. The government is sending a trade delegation to Iran later this month for working out modalities for rice exports. According to official data, in the current fiscal, the volume of basmati rice exports to Iran has been around 4.6 lakh tonne, which was essentially from contracts agreed upon in the previous fiscal. The volume of basmati rice exports to Iran had crossed a million tonne (mt) in in FY15.
“Iran is expected to take a call on resuming rice imports from India shortly,” a commerce ministry official said. The official also said that due to lower output of basmati rice this year, the prices have started to appreciate in the last couple of weeks. The sowing of basmati across the key growing areas of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand had seen a sharp fall of 25% to 1.57 million hectares in the last kharif season, from close to 2 million hectares reported in 2015, thanks to a fall in realisation from exports.But exports of aromatic and long-grained basmati rice fell more than 13% during April–October this fiscal

Cambodia’s rice exports fall sharply

Cambodia’s milled rice exports only grew by a dismal 0.7 percent last year compared with 2015 and this was the lowest since 2014, according to government figures released yesterday.“Last year Cambodia only exported 542,144 tons of milled rice and the lowest exports were in the first quarter of the year and December,” said Hean Vanhan, director-general of the agriculture department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.“The fall in rice exports in those months really affected our overall performance,” said Mr. Vanhan.In the first quarter of last year, a severe drought affected rice production and through the year rice millers had been complaining of the flow of low-grade cheaper rice into the country from Vietnam.

Last March, rice millers and exporters wrote to the government urging intervention due to stiff competition in export markets as well as domestic ones. In the letter, they said they were facing a cash crunch due to a flood of low-grade rice from Vietnam while stressing that bankruptcy was widespread among farmers, millers and exporters alike.In late September, the government responded by making out a $27 million loan to rice millers to purchase paddy rice from farmers, in a bid to prevent rice prices from falling further.“It’s not only Cambodian rice millers that are facing a fall in income due to low prices. Millers in neighboring countries are also facing the same predicament,” said Mr. Vanhan.Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said that the fall in milled rice exports was expected.“We already predicted that rice exports would fall sharply in 2016. There were external factors beyond our control,” he said.

Mr. Lak said Cambodia’s rice production costs were still very high compared with Thailand and Vietnam and that made the kingdom’s rice exports very uncompetitive in regional markets.“When the price of rice is cheaper in neighboring countries, it is obvious that buyers will import rice from those countries,” he said.Song Saron, president of Amru Rice (Cambodia), said the lack of warehouses made it difficult for rice millers to store paddy rice when prices are low and export them when prices climb.“If there are big rice storage warehouses and paddy drying facilities, it will help both farmers and rice millers and rice exporters,” said Mr. Saron.According to the CRF’s Mr. Lak, the outlook for this year seems more positive.“China has formally agreed to purchase 200,000 tons of rice annually from Cambodia to help the country’s rice farmers and millers,” he said.Mr. Lak said CRF was working with the Ministry of Commerce to seek more markets for Cambodian rice.“We are negotiating with Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Recently, we have had orders from Malaysia.

RDB receives four bids for $10B paddy silo project

Fri, 6 January 2017
Four companies have responded to a government tender for a project to develop a mammoth rice storage and processing facility in Battambang province, a bank executive said yesterday.Kao Thach, CEO of state-owned Rural Development Bank (RDB), said the government was seeking private-sector investment in a new rice storage facility with 200,000-tonne capacity, with an attached mill capable of processing 3,000 tonnes of paddy rice per day. The project, expected to cost $10 million, was offered to bidders with a loan facility to be provided by the RDB.
The construction of the large-scale facility aims to increase the storage and processing capacity of millers in Cambodia’s rice heartland in time for the next wet season harvest.According to Thach, RDB will disburse low-interest loans on behalf of the government to its selected winning bidder for the construction of the facility, though the rate has yet to be decided. Once operational, the on-site storage silos will allow its operator to process paddy rice steadily over a period of time, helping to maintain the stability of paddy prices.
“This project is expected to resolve rice processing issues in Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces, and we expect the new facilities will increase the combined capacity of the three provinces to nearly 10,000 tonnes a day,” he said.“We hope the new silo and rice storage will help to resolve these issues in time for the upcoming harvest season.”Thach said the current capacity for Banteay Meanchey province was 1,500 tonnes a day, while Battambang province could process 3,000 tonnes of rice daily. Pursat has the lowest capacity, with 1,000 tonnes per day.The four bidding companies, according to a press release issued by the RDB, are Thaneakea Srov (Kampuchea) Plc, Cattle Food Investment Import-Export Co Ltd, Ing Vanmao Rice Miller, and Anduriz (Cambodge) Sarl.
The bank said that investment firm Mekong Strategic Partners would evaluate the eligibility of the companies to receive the loans.Phou Puy, CEO of Thaneakea Srov, which opened a massive centralised “rice bank” in Battambang province in 2014, told the Post that investment in rice storage space was crucial to resolving the recurring issue of surplus paddy during the harvest season.He said for the project to be successful, however, the RDB must offer an attractive financing package.“We hope the RDB will provide us loans with low interest rates so that we can afford to undertake the project,” he said.
Contact author: Hor Kimsay

Here comes Nigeria’s rice revolution

Posted By: DANIEL ESSIETon: January 06, 2017In: Agriculture

Rice production in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State
The Federal Government’s economic diversification efforts in the agric sector appear to be yielding dividends. With the harvest of local rice, especially by Lagos and Kebbi states, the prices of the staple food have dipped, raising the hope that the ‘rice revolution’ will manifest this year, DANIEL ESSIET reports.
Rice is a staple food in Nigeria. But it’s not just a food that satisfies hunger, it enriches meals and cultures of many Nigerians.
It was, however,  not a surprise that many  Nigerians were  worried  when the price of rice rose sharply from N10,000 second quarter to about N26,000 towards the end of  the last quarter. The spike in rice prices sent shockwaves around the country. The price hike  caused many people to panic. Expectedly, perhaps, as more than half of the nation’s population depends on rice for food, most of them the poorest of the poor.At N18, 000 per bag, the price of  rice was high enough to affect even the middle class.
A rice seller, Onyeka Abia, in Somolu expressed concern that the  price hike would make consumers pay more for a cup of the staple. The situation was  damaging government’s  public support as more Nigerians became agitated since they could no longer afford rice. The situation was worsened by the enforcement of the  ban on rice importation through the land borders. The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said rice importation through land borders remained banned and prohibited, warning that those caught violating the law would be arrested and prosecuted. The Service said those coming into the country legitimately through the seaports, where proper duties and extant charges are paid, will continue through the end of last year.
The Comptroller-General, NCS had also revealed that 24.992 metric tonnes of rice valued at N2.34 billion were imported between October 2015 and March 2016 before the ban. The reduced rice supplies from land importation plus the rising demand for the staple, affected its price. This further created artificial crisis, which jerked up its price. Some blamed inflation for the crisis, emphasising the role of a plummeting naira in a free market.
Indeed, the  falling value of the naira was partly causing the price, not only of rice, but practically food stuff to skyrocket.According to stakeholders, the fuel price made production and distribution of goods and services expensive.A bag of rice that  sold at N11,000 in January, six months after,  sold at N13,000 through the borders.Abia noted that spiraling rice prices have left Nigerians facing one of their worst food crisis.Over the year, rice price eventually hit N27,000 a bag , while there has been no corresponding increase in wages.
Once self-sufficient in rice, Nigeria was listed as one of the world’s top importer of milled rice.With rice stocks low, some rice traders expressed fears of being caught out by price hike.Some rice sellers such as Abia complained that they would prefer to have stable prices than high prices. Rice prices increased by more than 50 per cent last year. By September, he was buying a bag of rice at N17, 000. The situation made rice shops around Shomolu the target of late night robberies with a rice seller around Pedro, Shomolu losing 57 bags in one robbery.
Consequently, rice sellers had  to cut stocks to prevent a situation  where they would lose more when the night thieves struck.Few months to the end of the year, Customs officials barged into rice traders’ warehouses  and markets  suspected  of recieving smuggled products such as rice.But the government, highly conscious of social or political tensions caused by food inflation, moved to protect consumers by increasing local production. Instead of importing rice, the government worked towards supporting farmers to increase local production. The eat-local-rice policy was defended by the farming community. Many Nigerians also agreed that home-grown rice tastes best.
Since November last year, national rice production  has increased tremendously over the past few weeks, improving the nation’s food security.At the same time, the gains in production, which resulted in the boost to rice supply, have made the commodity much cheaper and ultimately less profitable, particularly for small farmers.
The price of rice for the first time went than to between N12,000 and N13,000.The government came up with short and long-term measures to increase rice cultivation by  providing soft loans for farmers, cooperatives and rice traders through the Central  Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers programme. There were  arrangements to facilitate business-matching for farmers to meet with millers and  rice sales via a number of methods. Rice farmers in Plateau were  optimistic of a bumper harvest last year with at least, one million tonnes.The Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RiFAN), Plateau State Chapter,  Mr Joshua Bitrus, said harvest was  bountiful  from what they saw on ground,  as such they expected nothing less than one million tonnes of rice in the state.
He lauded the efforts of the Federal Government to boost rice production and declared that rice production would triple in Plateau, when the Anchor Borrowers Scheme takes off. The Anchor Borrowers Scheme, initiated by the CBN, which will be test-run in Plateau during the dry season farming.A total of 1,065 hectares of land across the state have been identified, and they are areas close to water because water is crucial to rice farming. According to him, the success of  the pilot scheme will boost farmers’ morale and shore up interest in the scheme. The ban on importation of rice would also encourage the local farmer. He hoped that the price would remain at that level of N14000/50 kgs than the earlier price of N23000/50 kgs, so that farmers could get something reasonable for their efforts and be encouraged to cultivate more in coming years.
Also, the Federal Government was planning in excess of 1.8 hectares of rice and wheat farmers for plantation in Jigawa state for the 2016  dry season. About 90,000 farmers were targeted for rice production  early this year.The  Federal Government would provide seeds, fertiliser and herbicide to the farmers at subsidised rates. Each farmer would be given three bags of fertilisers – two NPK and one Urea (50 kilogrammes) apart from 50 kilogrammes of seeds and two and a half litres of herbicide. With the support coming from the Anchor Borrowers programme, stakeholders expect irrigated rice cultivation to  reach  its pinnacle this year. The expectations are that almost all key rice producing states will receive ample rainfall.With new varieties being released to farmers, farmers expect good  harvest more than last year. As an important contribution to rice cultivation, stakeholders expect Lagos and Kebbi rice partnership to increase uptake and growth of rice and the potential to improve rice yields.Results have shown that Lagos and Kebbi states’ participation is achieving sustainable rice production.
Farmers said rising imported rice prices were  putting pressure on the nation’s budget.Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode,  said  the  future of Nigeria rests on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two states  on rice production.In addition, it has been stated that both Kebbi and Lagos have entered an agreement to collaborate in using their comparative advantages to expand the cultivation and processing of rice and agricultural products too.“In fact, it is believed that we should be able to feed ourselves and Kebbi State being the largest producer of rice and Lagos being the largest consumer, we thought it may synergise to reduce the importation of rice in the country,” he said.
President, Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN),  Dr  Victor Iyama, observed that Nigeria  is a good example of a country that was pushed to ignore its own food production, including rice.He said to be continuously dependent on rice imports was a perfect recipe for crisis. Iyama believed high-yield varieties and irrigation systems would lead to increased output of the staple grain. He expects government and the private sector to invest in  more efficient machines and farming methods, better irrigation systems, and new, more resilient and higher yielding varieties of rice to produce more of the primary staple with less cost in time and effort.Iyama said rice production is open to mechanisation and high-yielding strains that may be deployed. It may be one of the reasons why rice prices would not go up in tandem with some other commodities.
One of the difficulties associated with growing rice is that a lot of water is required, using the traditional method for rice paddies.Iyama said this is not going to be an issue as farmers can dig boreholes to cope with the challenge of large water use. He doesn’t believe   rice fields have to be flooded with water every day to give better yields.  Iyama, a rice farmer, maintained that the best strategy for keeping the price of rice low was to ensure that production increased faster than demand.According to him, rice production could be increased by expanding cultivation and encouraging young people get involved in planting rice, which takes four months before harvest. He explained that increased investment would make rice markets more efficient, helping to bring rice prices down.
Speaking with The Nation, Kebbi Chairman, Rice Farmers’ Association, Alhaji Sahabi Augie said a N12,000 per bag price of rice will go up till April when farmers will make the first harvest of the year.According to him, Nigeria has lots of potential growth in rice production. He  said Nigeria could be self-sufficient in rice production if there was enough support for those  in rice business. In the last couple of years, however, rains have become more unpredictable and drought has emerged as a growing concern in the northern part of the country.
In response, the various governments have released drought-tolerant rice varieties that can be used in rainfed lowlands. Meanwhile, there are fears food prices are expected to remain volatile, though output is likely to grow later this year as farmers plant additional crops

Rice clinics scheduled

Posted: Jan 04, 2017 9:22 PM PSTUpdated: Jan 04, 2017 9:54 PM PST

The LSU AgCenter's rice research station offers clinics this month and next for farmers.Advice will be offered for those getting ready for the 2017 crop, and staff will be offering updates on researching being done at the station and the economic outlook for the industry. The sessions will be held at various locations on the following dates:
- Jan. 5 at the Acadia Parish Education Center in Crowley, 2122 N. Parkerson Ave., behind Gatti's Pizza restaurant, starting at 8:10 a.m.
- Jan. 10 in Welsh at the Welsh Community Center, 101 Palmer St., starting at 8:15 a.m.
- Jan. 11 in Ville Platte at the Civic Center, 704 N. Soileau St., starting at 8 a.m.
- Jan. 12 in Abbeville at the Vermilion Parish Library, 405 E. Saint Victor St., starting at 8 a.m.
- Jan. 17 at the DeWitt Livestock Facility adjacent to the LSUA campus south of Alexandria, starting at 8:20 a.m.
- Feb. 8 at the Rayville Civic Center, 827 Louisa St., starting at 9 a.m.

Iran imports likely to help boost India's basmati realisation

05 January 2017                    
After a sluggish beginning in the first half of the current fiscal, realisation from India's basmati rice exports is likely to rise in the next couple of months, with Iran likely to resume rice imports shortly.Official sources told The Financial Express that the realisation from the exports of aromatic and long-grain rice rose to $800 a tonne last month from $750 a tonne prevailing in the last couple of months. A commerce ministry official said that export realisation could reach $900 a tonne in the next couple of months because of lesser supplies due to lower production and firming up of global demand.

Iran, the biggest export destination for India's basmati rice, is likely to resume imports of rice shortly. The government is sending a trade delegation to Iran later this month for working out modalities for rice exports.According to official data, in the current fiscal, the volume of basmati rice exports to Iran has been around 4.6 lakh tonnes, which was essentially from contracts agreed upon in the previous financial year. The volume of basmati rice exports to Iran had crossed a million tonne (mt) mark in in FY15.''Iran is expected to take a call on resuming rice imports from India shortly,'' a commerce ministry official said. The official also said that due to lower output of basmati rice this year, the prices have started to appreciate in the last couple of weeks. The sowing of basmati across the key growing areas of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand had seen a sharp fall of 25 per cent to 1.57 million hectares in the last kharif season, from close to 2 million hectares reported in 2015, thanks to a fall in realisation from exports.But exports of aromatic and long-grained basmati rice fell more than 13 per cent during April–October this fiscal.

No Rice Imports Needed for 2017: Jokowii
Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Indonesia will not import medium quality rice this year citing production and stocks of rice in the country as sufficient.
Latest government estimates put rice production at 44.3 million tons and consumption at 33.3 million tons in 2016, leaving the country with a surplus.Data from national procurement agency Bulog earlier this year showed Indonesia's rice stock at 1.73 million tons, more than double last year's reserve of 800,000 tons."I am grateful and glad that rice ... is stable. If our stock is large, [speculators] would restrain from raising prices," Jokowi said on Thursday (05/01).
The president said rice import permits this year would only be given to premium quality or specialty rice. Last year, the country imported 1.2 million tons of premium and medium quality rice to honor contracts made in the previous years.In 2017 however, the government has declined offers from four world rice producers — Pakistan, India, Myanmar and Cambodia — to supply rice for Indonesia.
"I told them that we do not need to import rice because we have enough reserve," said Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita.Jokowi also projected Indonesia would not need to import corn this year. The country's corn import drop to 900,000 tons last year, compared to annual average of 3.2 million in the previous years."If local corn production continue to increase, I am confident that we no longer need to import corn," Jokowi said.
Indonesian rice consumption is among the highest in the world, with each person consuming 114 kilogram every year. That compares to Vietnamese, who consumes 191 kilogram, Thais (147 kilogram), India (78 kilogram) and China (75 kilogram), according to data compiled by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Rising rice imports hit mills, farmers in eastern Tarai


Jan 6, 2017- The country’s leading rice exporting districts of eastern Tarai are on the verge of becoming importers as production has been unable to meet local demand.There were a large number of rice mills until few years ago, but most of them have now closed down and the remaining have transformed themselves into packaging plants. The packaging industries import rice from India and sell them here under different brand names. According to industrialists, customs charge for imported paddy is 8 percent, while that for rice is 5 percent. Due to the difference in customs charge, they import rice rather than paddy.
“Some of the popular rice mills have converged into packaging industries,” said Pawan Kumar Sharda, President of Morang Merchant Association. “Not just local rice mills, farmers too have been impacted by growing imports of rice.”

Similar is the situation for wheat. Rising flour imports have put local mills on the verge of collapse. The customs charge for wheat and flour is same.According to industrialists, there should be at least 15 percentage points difference between customs charges. “If this is done, local mills will survive,” said Shrawan Agrawal, a member of the association. There are more than 100 rice mills in Mechi and Koshi zones. Most of them are involved in importing and packaging rice under different brands. There are seven big flour mills in Koshi. Laxman Tapadia, a rice mill operator, said rising rice imports have hit local mill operators.

Krishna Prasad Upreti, another rice mill operator of Kakarvitta, Jhapa, said they used to export rice to bordering Indian towns until a few years ago. “However, due to weak government policy to promote Nepali produce, almost all local mills are on the verge of extinction.” According to the Mechi Customs Office, rice imports amounted to Rs463.36 million last fiscal year, while imports of paddy amounted to Rs105.77 million. In the first five months of the current fiscal year, imports of rice through Mechi customs have been recorded at Rs463.32 million. Production of paddy has increased significantly in the eastern region this year. The output in 16 Tarai districts in the eastern region is expected to grow by an additional 300,000 tonnes this year. Last year, these districts had produced 1.38 million tonnes.

Published: 06-01-2017 09:15

A challenging year for rice exports

Fri, 6 January 2017

A worker inspects grains of rice at a mill in the capital’s Por Senchey district. Heng Chivoan

The growth of rice exports slowed to a crawl last year, according to new data, signalling that government initiatives to increase the competitiveness of Cambodia’s mainstay crop had fallen short and raising concerns about the future of the agricultural sector.According to data received from the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday, Cambodia’s rice exports totalled 542,144 tonnes last year, a mere 3,700 tonnes, or 0.7 percent, more than the country shipped in 2015. The nominal increase followed a growth spurt in 2015 that saw exports climb by 39 percent that year.Hean Vanhann, undersecretary of state at ministry, said the slowdown in export growth suggested previous initiatives had failed and the government needed a new strategy to secure the future of Cambodia’s rice industry.“The decrease [in export growth] is a clue that we must be concerned about our rice industry and all stakeholders have to take action together,” he said yesterday.
He said in the past six years the government has rolled out various strategies for the sector, including initiatives to increase paddy rice production, improve the capacity of harvesting rice, increase milling capacity, and promote marketing and exports.“The four strategies of the government since 2010 have not worked well together,” Vanhann argued.“We need a new strategy to ensure that all the production lines are working smoothly. If our rice production increases but marketing is slow, how can it ever work?”
He cited both internal and external factors, noting that the international price of rice was declining, making it increasingly difficult for Cambodian rice to compete in global markets. Meanwhile, the domestic rice industry does not have sufficient milling or storage capacity, or enough capital, to support year-round, round-the-clock exports.Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodian Rice Federation, said 2016 proved to be an exceptionally challenging year for Cambodia’s rice industry. He explained that local exporters had to compete with rival rice-producing countries that were flooding the market with their product, while local farmers struggled against low paddy prices exacerbated by the sector’s shortage of capital and storage capacity.
“We confronted a lot of challenges in the rice industry during the year, both internal and external,” he said.“But if we look back at all these challenges, we should appreciate the result, which showed we can maintain a stable level of exporting.”Lak projected that rice exports would grow this year following the signing of export agreements with China and Vietnam, but the industry “must prepare well in advance to meet its target.”Commenting on the government’s disbursement of $27 million of emergency loans to support rice millers in buying paddy, Lak said the financial assistance came “a bit late”, but was still able to help farmers by propping up falling paddy rice prices.
“The disbursement of the government’s emergency loans was too late for rice exporters to sign contracts with buyers, though came early enough to support paddy prices for farmers,” he said.“Next year, the loans should be provided early enough for rice millers to negotiate export contracts with buyers.”Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said looking back on 2016 exports, the result was “acceptable,” but not satisfying. He said Cambodia’s supply chain was flawed.“Our supply chain is not balanced, as if you observe the export trend [during the course of the year] it is uneven,” he said.“Our supply of rice paddy is limited at the beginning of the year, but we have an oversupply of paddy at the end of the year.”Saran added that despite the high quantity of rice exported, the commodity’s low price level was causing profits in the industry to decline

Food prices controllable up to March: Trade minister

Stefani Ribka
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Thu, January 5, 2017 | 10:30 am
Consumers buy beef at Pasar Minggu in South Jakarta. (JP/Viriya Paramita Singgih)
Trade Minister Enggartiasto "Enggar" Lukita said the food supply was adequate to meet demands until March, making the prices controllable till that period.Beef monthly demand is 56,500 tons; sugar is 250,000 tons and rice is 1.73 million tons. The adequate supply comes both from local and foreign producers.Enggar said so far the import was only open for beef, buffalo meat and sugar.Some 42,000 tons of buffalo meat has landed in Indonesia from India last year-end and the import permit of 1.5 million tons of raw sugar has been signed for 11 refinery factories here.
The rice stock from Cipinang central market in Jakarta has exceeded the three-month demand of the capital, he said. "With that, it's safe to say that our stocks and prices are alright until March," Enggar said.For other staple foods, like chili, shallots and vegetable oil, the ministry together with the Agriculture Ministry and state logistics agency Bulog will continue to carry out market operations, through which they supply fairly priced staples to bring down prices whenever they surge.The minister said the government managed to control food prices in 2016, which led to inflation reaching a seven-year low at 3.02 percent. Only chili and shallots surged in November and December during bad harvests amid the long rainy season. (bbn

FG procures 500 rice harvesters, threshers to boost production

Posted By: Agency Reporton: January 05, 2017I
The Federal Government has procured at least 500 rice harvesters and threshers to reduce post-harvest losses and achieve self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018.The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made this known in a chat with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.Ogbeh said the government had only taken delivery of 80 of the harvesters, adding that the remaining 420 would be delivered before April.He said the harvesters that would cost about N1.7 million each, would be manned by trained personnel in states.Ogbeh also noted that the rice threshers which were produced locally would cost between N800, 000 and N900, 000 each. The minister, who said Kebbi has procured some of the machines, noted that Ebonyi and Jigawa States have also indicated interest to acquire the machines.
“One of the worries of rice farmers is the labour in the harvest and that is why we are bringing these machines,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the minister as saying to journalists on Thursday.“They will be managed by a team of young boys and girls. They will be backed with a lot of spare parts.“Boys and girls will move round harvesting rice for farmers and they will get paid for the labour because manual rice harvesting is a very tedious process.

Farmers suffer as rice price slumps

 05 Jan 2017

Rice farmers are enduring hard times because production costs have exceeded the return on months of hard toil, with prices at their lowest levels since 2012.

FALLING RICE prices have brought misery for many of the farmers who comprise about two-thirds of Myanmar’s population.Months of hard toil have produced a bitter harvest of financial losses.According to farmers interviewed by Frontier, in October, the price for 100 baskets of unhusked paddy fell to between K300,000 and K430,000, down from K550,000 in October 2015.“It costs about K300,000 to plant an acre [of paddy],” said U Hla Htay, 58, who grows rice on his 20-acre farm at Yenangyaung village in Ayeyarwady Region’s Maubin Township. “After harvest we get about 80 baskets of paddy [per acre], so if the price for 100 baskets is K300,000, we suffer a big loss.”
Rice prices in Myanmar this year are the lowest since 2012, when prices for the staple crop fell steeply around the world, according to data from the Myanmar Rice Federation.
Women buy rice at a market in Yangon. (AFP)
One reason for lower prices on global markets this year is better harvests in many countries. In Myanmar, the issue of lower prices is exacerbated by the fact that large amounts of rice were damaged by heavy rain during the monsoon, said Dr Soe Tun, vice president of the MRF.“Very poor farmers do not have the technology to solve the problem of wet rice; they cannot afford to use equipment or machinery that dries the rice,” he said, adding that some rice mills also lack drying equipment.
Farmers have also been indirectly affected by the decision in June by China border authorities to crack down on the export of rice and other crops from Myanmar.“China now defines the rice coming from Myanmar as an illegal import,” said U Tun Lin Soe, a trader at the 105-mile trading zone outside Muse.“Many traders [in China] were still accepting Myanmar rice, pretending not to see it. But now they stop the import of rice from Myanmar when they want to,” he said.Myanmar traders see huge potential in the China market because traders there are willing to buy rice of any quality, often at higher than the prevailing price. But exporting rice to China is risky.
Traders who export rice to China through Muse rely on informal agreements that involve being paid for shipments two weeks after delivery. If the rice is intercepted and seized by the Chinese authorities, the traders don’t get paid.“If the rice is seized on the China side within two weeks of delivery, traders on the Myanmar side will not be paid. We are the ones who lose,” said Tun Lin Soe.Despite the risks of exporting illegally to China, traders continue to do so because it is easier to send shipments there than to other markets.
In 2003, when the junta liberalised the domestic rice trade after 30-years of state procurement, it established a committee that set three guidelines for exports: rice must be in surplus, exporters must pay a 10 percent export tax, and net earnings after taxes were to shared 50-50 between the government and exporters.
Between 2003 and 2008 only companies that specialised in the rice sector were permitted to export. Private companies involved in other sectors were permitted to enter the market between 2008 and 2011, when economic reforms saw the market opened to any company that wanted to export rice through border or maritime trade.Since 2011, China has become the main buyer of Myanmar rice, but exports have been affected by its strict import controls.“As I see it, it is partly related to the new government,” said Soe Tun. “The previous government had a close relationship with China, but the NLD [National League for Democracy] government is generally seen to be closer to the United States and the West. This year, we have seen more seizures of Myanmar rice across the border,” he said.
Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe / Frontier
As Myanmar is still a predominantly agricultural country, some lawmakers are pushing for policies that will protect farmers and help the rural economy to grow and ultimately benefit the entire country.“For there to be success in Myanmar’s political reform, we need to strive to improve the lives of farmers, who constitute more than 70 percent of the population,” said U Sein Win (NLD, Maubin Township), who chairs the Pyithu Hluttaw committee for farmers, workers and youth affairs. “When farmers are doing well, political stability exists in the country. The government should give a priority to solving the problem of falling rice prices.”
The government says it is trying to solve the issue, but there’s a paucity of detail. U Myo Tint Tun, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, told Frontier that the issue is being tackled at ministerial level, but did not elaborate.
Last week, the ministry initiated a K15 billion program where it buys rice from farmers at a fair price.Soe Tun said the government’s reaction to the low prices had been too slow.Meanwhile, paddy farmers are waiting for prices to recover.“Never put your fate in the hands of a man. The rice price is a good example of that,” said Sein Win.

Myanmar exports more than 900,000 tonnes of rice and broken rice to December

Writer: Nilar

Myanmar has exported more than 900,000 tons of rice and broken rice for the year until the end of December, reported the Ministry of Commerce.“We already exported more than 900,000 tons of rice and broken rice. It is a good sign for the country,” Yan Naing Tun, the director-general of the Trade Department said.“Our ministry is expanding foreign markets to export rice. We have offers from Kenya, one of the countries from the African rice market, to buy Myanmar rice. Banking matters are still under negotiation,” Yan Naing Tun said.

“Our minister was had offers from Kenya during his visit. Indonesia and the Philippines are the same matter. The banking system is not OK for Kenya and so financial transaction are still under negotiation,” Yan Naing Tun added.Rice exports to China decreased due to November clashes between Tatmadaw and ethnic armed groups that broke out in Muse. Therefore, the government planned to export rice to other foreign markets by sea.

Africa and the EU are currently purchasing rice from Myanmar, according to the Myanmar Rice Industry. About 60,000 tonnes of rice is being exported to the African market each month.Myanmar rice is exported to China through the Muse border trade zone. Rice is being exported to more than 30 foreign countries by ship.

The Myanmar-China border trade zones exported 25,000 tonnes of rice worth US$8million from December 10 to 16, 2016. The Muse border trade zone exported more than 2,000 tonnes of fish paste and 15,674 tonnes of rice, Chinshwehaw, 701 tonnes of rice, Lwejel, and 6,874 tonnes of rice, according to the Ministry of Commerce

Cambodia's rice export to China up 9 pct last year

2017-01-05 15:32XinhuaEditor: Gu Liping
Cambodia had exported 127,460 tons of milled rice to China in 2016, an increase of 9 percent year-on-year, according to a government's report released on Thursday.The report compiled by the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export showed that China is the top buyer of Cambodian rice, followed by France and Poland.
"China is a key market for Cambodian milled rice and we expect to export about 200,000 tons to China in 2017," Agriculture Ministry undersecretary of state Hean Vanhan told Xinhua.According to the report, Cambodia had sold a total of 542,144 tons of milled rice to 66 countries and regions last year, representing a 0.7 percent rise year-on-year.Cambodia is an agrarian country with approximately 80 percent of the population being farmers. The Southeast Asian country annually produces over 9 million tons of paddy rice, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

Punjab farmers plagued by pests and payment crunch



In normal times, the grain mandi of Samrala is abuzz with the hum of agrarian commerce. These days, however, it lies virtually vacant, with only a handful of farmers coming to sell their produce. Joginder Singh Sahni says that usually the mandi is full of wheat and rice farmers selling their goods. Commission agents and other links on the commercial chain add to the decibel level.
Sahni, who has come to the mandi to sell basmati rice, says that the market today is a mere shadow of its usual lively self. “Most of the farmers are not selling their produce. Grains can be stored easily, so they are holding them back, hoping for better price.”He and a few other farmers from nearby villages, however, have come to sell a part of their produce. According to Sahni, and another farmer Jeet Singh, the price of basmati rice has fallen from 4,500 per quintal to about 2,200 per quintal following demonetisation.
“The price is falling every day. Just two or three days ago, it was selling at 2,500 per quintal, Sahni says. He is hoping to sell some of the rice, which he is unable to store, before the price drops further.Punjab’s agriculture now is fairly well-insulated from the vagaries of weather. Instead of depending on monsoon, farmers depend on diesel-powered irrigation and fertilisers; their harvest remains fairly consistent, come rain or drought.This year, which comes after two straight years of droughts that wreaked havoc, farmers in the State were looking for a reprieve. But then came the “surgical strike” on black money, which ran the cash-based rural economy to ground.
Pest problem
Additionally, some regions in Punjab have seen the output of wheat and rice dip due to a pest attack. “It has been a dual strike – of pests and demonetisation,” says Avtar Singh, an aged farmer from Dhuri.Reduced output, deep price cuts, and rise in input costs — of fertilisers, pesticides, diesel for irrigation and others — have made life difficult for grain producers in the State.According to Kirpal Singh from Punnawal village, where the average yield of basmati rice per acre has fallen from around 8 quintals per acre to 5-6 quintals per acre due to the pest problem.
Nishathar Singh, also from Punnawal, says, “I am a relatively big farmer, but even I find it hard to deal with this situation. With lower yield and the cash crunch, I don’t have the money to pay my workers.

Rice and Soybean producers meeting

The Acadia Parish LSU AgCenter held a meeting covering rice and soybean production.

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